Summer at our place is all about entertaining. Long, lazy nights on the front porch with a cold glass of SA white wine, listening to some cool tunes and grazing on bits and pieces that require little to no effort.
Hot meals aren’t really a ‘thing’ for us during summer, and when they are, we try to minimise the amount of time standing over a stove as possible by cooking on the barbie, or using handy appliances like our rice cooker. When it comes to summer entertaining, cold meats, fresh salads and antipasto are the way to go.
When the lovely folk at the Mushroom Growers Association approached me about creating a recipe for their summer of mushrooms campaign, I immediately knew what I wanted to make. This mushroom pâté is something I’ve been thinking about for a while, and it is right at home on a summer platter with some crusty bread and salty olives, so I was pleased to be able to have the chance to give it a go.
Let me preface this by saying, that I’m not a fan of traditional pâté at all. No offence to the pâté lovers out there, but there is nothing at all appealing about the traditional stuff you usually find as part of a cheeseboard.
I’ve always wished for a ‘meaty’, vego alternative to pâté and so I began experimenting with a different version using mushrooms. This, I am assured by true pâté lovers, tastes pretty close – without the ick factor that I’ve always associated with the actual meaty stuff.
The secret to the fantastic flavour in this pâté (which is really just a dip) is the way you cook the mushrooms. For a long time I was rushing my mushrooms and they often turned out a sloppy, runny mess. Cooking slowly, and allowing first the juices to release and then enhancing those awesome umami flavours with herbs and an acidic kick (like red wine or balsamic vinegar) will result in some seriously excellent mushrooms, which would be right at home on a piece of buttery toast and not much else.
I then take these mushrooms and blend them through some soft, gently seasoned cream cheese (goats curd would also work here). The result is a perfect summer entertaining offering – mushroom pâté. The ingredients are listed as a sort of guide below, I think you’re much better off going with less of the cream cheese to begin with and adding more until you get the right consistency. Too much and you’ll lose the awesome mushroom flavour, too little and it might not be as ‘dippy’ as you’d expect it to be.
Oh, and did I mention that this is also outstanding stirred through pasta?
- 1 tbspn of unsalted butter
- 500g swiss brown mushrooms, stems trimmed and roughly chopped
- a pinch of salt
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 3-4 stems of fresh thyme, rinsed and lightly bruised
- 2-3 tbspns of good quality red wine vinegar
- ½ tspn of brown sugar
- 3-4 tbspns cream cheese
- 1 tbspn good quality olive oil
- ½ tspn of salt
- In a large skillet, melt the butter over a medium-high heat.
- Add the mushrooms with a pinch of salt and toss through the pan to coat with butter.
- Cook for a few minutes, until the mushrooms start releasing their juices.
- Once the pan is nice and wet, add the garlic and thyme.
- Reduce the heat to medium low.
- Cook until the juices have been reabsorbed/boiled off.
- Add the red wine vinegar and brown sugar and toss through the mushrooms to coat well.
- Allow to cook until the pan is dry and then set aside to cool.
- Once cooled to room temperature, add the mushrooms and any pan juices to a food processor and blitz a couple of times
- to chop the mushrooms.
- Add the cream cheese, olive oil and salt and blitz again until desired consistency is reached.
- Serve chilled with crusty bread.
If you love your mushrooms then you might want to check out the summer mushrooms campaign over at the Mushroom lovers website.
Just by re-creating this recipe at home you could go in the draw to win a $20,000 travel prize to the destination of your choice. Simply purchase the
mushrooms and then enter over on the website – don’t forget to keep your receipt! The more mushrooms you buy, the greater your chances of winning.
Disclaimer: I have been compensated by the Australian Mushroom Growers Association for the creation of this recipe. All opinions expressed are mine.